Joshua 5:10: The Renewal of Passover at Gilgal

Verse 10:[1] And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover (Ex. 12:6; Num. 9:5) on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

[And they did the Passover] I expound they did as they sacrificed. For they ate the lamb at the beginning of the following day. It is a Synecdoche of genus (Piscator).

[At evening, בָּעֶרֶב] It is the same time that is elsewhere בֵּין הָעַרְבָּיִם, between the evenings,[2] as it is evident from Exodus 16[3] and Deuteronomy 16[4] [concerning which see what things were said at length on Exodus 12, where a great part of what was annotated here by Masius is found]: namely, the last part of the fourteenth day, when the Sun is nearly set. On the Fourteenth Day the lamb was to be slain, but on the night following, that is, which precedes the light of the fifteenth day, it was to be eaten (Masius). Question: What number was this Passover to be reckoned? Response: Some maintain that it is the forty-first, and that the Passover was repeated throughout the entire forty years. For it is not probable that what God commanded to be perpetual was suddenly cast aside (Calvin). Response: The Law of Circumcision was no less perpetual than of Passover, Genesis 17 (Serarius). This does not satisfy others. In the desert Passover was intermitted for thirty-nine years (Serarius, Masius). They present proof: 1. It was not lawful to observe Passover unless circumcised, Exodus 12:48. 2. The Law concerning Passover appears to have regard unto the Promised Land alone; Exodus 12:25, when ye will have come into the land, etc. For what they did at mount Sinai, Numbers 9:2, they did not by Law, but by a new commandment (which would not at all have been necessary, if they were obliged by the Law) and privilege, that they might honor the sanctuary of God (Masius). 3. In the desert there were no sacrifices, Amos 5:25. But the Passover was a sacrifice (Serarius). This was, therefore, the third Passover celebrated by the Israelites: 1. there was one in Egypt; 2. one at mount Sinai; 3. one at this place (Serarius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Menochius). As the rite of Circumcision was renewed a little previously, so now the ceremony of Passover; so that we might understand that the Israelites holily and religiously entered upon the possession of the Land (Masius). Question: Did the Trans-Jordanian Tribes celebrate this Passover? Response: By no means; for the Passover was able to be celebrated only where the Temple was, Deuteronomy 16:2, 6, 7. Objection: All males were obliged to come three times in a year to their feasts, Deuteronomy 16:16. Response: They were not now bound by that law; either, because they did not yet possess the land of Canaan in peace; or, because they did not know that that ceremony was to be restored so quickly (Bonfrerius).

Passover: This was their third passover: the first was in Egypt, Exodus 12; the second at Mount Sinai, Numbers 9; the third here; for in their wilderness travels these and all other sacrifices were neglected, Amos 5:25.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּחֲנ֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בַּגִּלְגָּ֑ל וַיַּעֲשׂ֣וּ אֶת־הַפֶּ֡סַח בְּאַרְבָּעָה֩ עָשָׂ֙ר י֥וֹם לַחֹ֛דֶשׁ בָּעֶ֖רֶב בְּעַֽרְב֥וֹת יְרִיחֽוֹ׃

[2] See Exodus 12:6:  “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month:  and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening (בֵּ֥ין הָעַרְבָּֽיִם׃).”

[3] Exodus 16:12:  “I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel:  speak unto them, saying, At even (בֵּ֤ין הָֽעַרְבַּ֙יִם֙) ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.”

[4] Deuteronomy 16:4, 6:  “And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even (בָּעֶרֶב), remain all night until the morning….  But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even (בָּעָרֶב), at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”

1 thought on “Joshua 5:10: The Renewal of Passover at Gilgal

  1. Matthew Henry: “We may well imagine that the people of Canaan were astonished, and that when they observed the motions of the enemy they could not but think them very strange. When soldiers take the field they are apt to think themselves excused from religious exercises (they have not time nor thought to attend to them), yet Joshua opens the campaign with one act of devotion after another. What was afterwards said to another Joshua might truly be said to this, Hear now, O Joshua! thou and thy fellows that sit before thee are men wondered at (Zechariah 3:8), and yet indeed he took the right method. That is likely to end well which begins with God.

    Here is, A solemn passover kept, at the time appointed by the law, the fourteenth day of the first month, and in the same place where they were circumcised, Joshua 5:10. While they were wandering in the wilderness they were denied the benefit and comfort of this ordinance, as a further token of God’s displeasure; but now, in answer to the prayer of Moses upon the passing of that sentence, Psalm 90:15, God comforted them again, after the time that he had afflicted them, and therefore now that joyful ordinance is revived again. Now that they had entered into Canaan it was very seasonable to remember those wondrous works of divine power and goodness by which they were brought out of Egypt. The finishing of mercies should bring to mind the beginning of them; and when it is perfect day we must not forget how welcome the morning-light was when we had long waited for it. The solemn passover followed immediately after the solemn circumcision; thus, when those that received the word were baptized, immediately we find them breaking bread, Acts 2:41-42. They kept this passover in the plains of Jericho, as it were in defiance of the Canaanites that were round about them and enraged against them, and yet could not give them any disturbance. Thus God gave them an early instance of the performance of that promise that when they went up to keep the feasts their land should be taken under the special protection of the divine Providence, Exodus 34:24, Neither shall any man desire thy land. He now prepared a table before them in the presence of their enemies, Psalm 23:5.”

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